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Political features and current events

The Manchurian Gutter Ball

Remember when President Obama chose to appease Vladimir Putin by not building a missile defense system in Eastern Europe? Remember the lead up to 2008 Presidential election when Barack Obama went to a bowling alley in Pennsylvania to prove that he could relate to Joe 6-pack…and he bowled a 77?

Remember when Mick Zano hadn’t drank all the liberal Kool-Aid? Oh, and remember when President Obama was caught on tape whispering to Medvedev: “Tell Vladimir that after the election I’ll have some more flexibility”—presumably to make compromises on the U.S. security. Remember when Mitt Romney in the debates expressed great concern over the threat of Russia, and labeled Vladimir Putin as our “greatest foe” and Mr. Obama so condescendingly responded, “The cold war’s been over for 20 years. Now hand me my bowling shoes.”

The fact of the matter is that the cold war never ended. Soviet-style communism didn’t die, it went underground and seeped into the U.S. educational institutions, the entertainment industry, into our political system, into social services, and it’s penetrated the American psyche. As we can clearly see in Mick Zano’s recent attempt to annex The Onion.

Joseph Stalin knew that the Communist Soviet Union could never defeat a moral America head on, and so he devised a long term plan to de-moralize us. In the 1930s Stalin wrote extensively about his goal of actively infiltrating all facets of American Society. In particular, he sought to brainwash American children by encouraging them to rebel against social, familial, and religious authority. He encouraged promiscuity among our youth. The fiend even went so far as to invent the all night kegger and then slid the plans under Mick Zano and Dave Atsals’ dorm room door.

Stalin encouraged crude art, music, and pornography. From within our own nation, communist operatives worked to destroy our national pride, ridicule patriotism, weaken our national defense, and encourage disarmament and pacifism. Here are just a few of ‘Communism’s 45’ as recorded by Congressional Recall on January 10, 1963:

15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the U.S.

17. Get control of the schools.

20. Infiltrate the press.

21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, motion pictures.

22. Degrade all forms of American artistic expression. “Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art” (See The Daily Discord).

23. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship.”

25. Promote pornography and obscenity.

26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy, and promiscuity as “normal, natural, and healthy.”

27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with “social” religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity which does not need a religious crutch.

28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the “separation of church and state.”

32. Support any movement that gives centralized control over any part of the culture.

40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.

That’s a masterful plan, huh? I’m sure glad that Stalin failed. Remember when President Obama boldly drew that red line in the sand with Syria over the use of chemical weapons only to have Daddy Vladdy step in and take over for Baby Bama? I would suggest to you that Vladimir Putin encouraged Syria to step passed that red line and to call Obama’s bluff. I would also suggest to you that Vladimir Putin has been encouraging Iran to develop a nuclear bomb. I would suggest to you that Iran hijacked that bowing 777 and as the American media is distracting us by scanning the seas, Iran is planning to use that plane to create a worldwide catastrophe. I would suggest to you that Russia is working with China, the Arab nations, North Korea, and others to reject the U.S. Currency, triggering an economic collapse. You see, over the last five years Vladimir Putin has been playing chess, while President Obama has been bowling–very badly.

Venn Will They Listen? a Batshit Venn Diagram Takedown of the GOP

Mick Zano

A reader thought my last CPAC Run article was “fact-light”. I know, I know…you’ve come to expect more from your spoof news journalists these days. So to set the record straight I created some fun Venn diagrams to help explain why the right has lost its battle with reality. The GOP leaves behind 45 senators, 233 congressman and dozens of certifiable AM radio hosts.

The Economy: Post the Great Recession
The Economy: Post the Great Recession

A healthy GOP could have forced the Obama administration’s hand and changed the ratio of austerity measures to tax hikes and maybe get that sweet spot between Obama’s plan and Simpson-Bowles. But their all-or-none thinking wouldn’t allow for that. Cuts = Good and Taxes = Bad, so the Ryan Plan was DOA.

“I’m stopping payments on all those wars we ordered.”

—John Q. Republican

Immigration Reform
Immigration Reform

Actually, the GOP’s position has “evolved” to:

“Umm, we won’t pass immigration reform because we don’t think Obama will enforce anything.”

—John Q Republican

Yeah, you know, Obama, that guy who hired more border agents than anyone in U.S. history and currently resides over the largest decrease in illegal crossings…yeah, that border softy. But I love your wall idea, I believe Pink Floyd covered your important views thoroughly.

Foreign Policy
Foreign Policy

Simply put, all-or-none/us-or-them thinking has NO place in the Oval Office. Exhibit A:

Foreign Policy

Exhibit B:

“When was the last time you heard the designation ‘pro-Israel’ or ‘anti-Israel’ and found it a useful distinction that added to rather than subtracted from the discussion at hand? Ever?”

Paul Waldman

Now extrapolate Waldman’s point to every country and every conflict on Earth and then CPAC Run. The people who tarnished our credibility, broke our economy, and lost two land wars think what about the Ukraine? Look who’s hawking?

Climate Change
Climate Change

I have another feature coming soon on this issue, suffice to say you’re wrong. The data is overwhelming at this point. And my funny take here on energy sustainability. You’re going to back the birthers over the warmers with the existence of the planet hanging in the balance? I will Trump your Donald with something called reason.

The 2nd Amendment
The 2nd Amendment

Admittedly, there are folks on the left who want to ban all guns, like that totally failed experiment in England (sarcasm alert). I am a supporter of our 2nd Amendment right as are most Dems. But the idea of background checks is not a radical idea. The GOP, however, is afraid such a step is a slippery slope to common sense gun legislation. Look, I warned Obama not to touch this topic, here. Not because he’s wrong, but I knew he would get his ass handed to him.

Our Insurance Rates
Our Insurance Rates

If you think half the care for twice the cost is a good way to run a healthcare system, I have a traffic study to sell you in Jersey. Bridge tolled separately. I constantly deal with insurance companies in my day job and the only argument that Satan exists, lies there.

Defense Budget
Defense Budget

This is another example of all-or-none thinking. Post the Great Recession my state cut the Medicaid behavioral health dollar by nearly a third. So if our smart fiscal conservatives can’t look at our mind-numbingly bloated defense budget and think cha-ching, you’re neither smart nor fiscally conservative.

The Size of Government
The Size of Government

There is a Goldilocks zone for the size of government. It’s bigger than Grover Norquist’s vision and likely smaller than Hillary’s. It’s just right…of Warren.

Our Dying Planet
Our Dying Planet

Uh, I’m being told to stop. I have more, but Mr. Winslow pulled the plug at 10. I can hear Pokey McDooris now saying, “Some of your portrayals of GOP positions are either not mine, or clearly exaggerated.” Bullshit. I don’t care about your positions, I care about the crackpots you’re electing. They’re zealots, not moderates. Moderate republicanisms died and I was one of the only ones covering the funeral. I placed a rose on the grave, read a poem called “When George Will made sense” and then wept a little. It was a closed casket affair, for obvious reasons. Sorry you missed it.

How Obama Earned His 41% Approval Rating, or at Least Is Renting to Own

Mick Zano

Whereas I do criticize our 44th President, the ideologically-challenged always seem to boggart such endeavors, i.e., Obama really blew it on…wait, did Boehner just say “We’ve done our work”? Or, I’m angry with Holder because…did Paul Ryan just say “I’m not preaching austerity”? For this post I will set aside my own biases as to remain focused on—OMG! Krystol just said “Obama is dangerous and delusional!” Mr. Never-ever-right? Really?

(Deep breath, Zano.)

Yeah, Bill Krystol over at the Weekly Substandard is a real gem. And just when I was about to hate on Obama. Don’t worry Bill, if your spiel turns out to be BS none of your readers will notice…just like yesterday, and I get on my knees and praaay, we won’t get fooled again. Who sung that? No, Who sung that.

(Focus, Zano! …Cough)

Clearly some things have gone astray under Mr. Obama’s watch, but it still amazes me how little time the right wing media spends on his real failures. One would think a group that complains about Obama 24/7 would occasionally touch on something meaningful.

(Throat clear)

Fine….but before I begin my reverse tirade, you’ll find most Obama “scandals” strangely absent. This is not an oversight on my part, I simply left them out because they are either: 1. completely fabricated, or 2. See: number one. My complete Obama scandal summary here.

So here are my beefs with Mr. O:

(Cue dramatic music)

1. He never returns my calls

(Take 4)

I can do this, I can do this!

1. The War on the Middle Class

Obama hasn’t really helped the middle class much. At least I got a check from Bush once for 250 bucks…er, that ultimately helped contribute to a global economic meltdow… mulligan!

(You can do this, Zano. You always predicted Obama would rate mediocre…so more OCRE!)

Okay, so the right focuses on the one percent and the Dems tend to focus their energy on the poor. So the middle class really doesn’t have any champions. Dems really haven’t passed many useful policies. I agree with Kevin Drum’s take, here. Of course, some of the blame lands squarely at the feet of Congress. Shit, no goading them today, even though like in that certain Italian city all goads seem to lead there.

(Getting better. Baby steps, Zano)

2. The NSA

The NSA scandal is real and it’s a big deal. Our unwarranted wiretapping is legal thanks to the GOP, but it remains annoying to anyone with libertarian sensibilities. I have remained riveted to Glenn Greenwald’s work, here. He rocks. Snowden may be an idiot, but he sure picked the right guy to be his champion. He’s anti-Obama without all the mistruths. Always check the packaging, kids.

My position on this hasn’t changed. We need to keep the NSA program, but we can’t “fish” and collect all data without some sort of checks and balances. Listening in on someone’s conversation—within the U.S.—should require some type of oversight.

…or someone should at least tell Cheney (badum-bump).

I predicted that once we uncorked this genie, it would be very difficult if not impossible to get it back into the bottle. And as usual:

“Zano accurately predicted how making warrantless wiretapping legal was a mistake and then accurately predicted there would be no easy restoration once legalized, umm, so he’s wrong.”

—John Q. Republican

So which political party has a better chance of restoring this executive overreach, those who caused the problem (R) or those who perpetuated it (D)? Wait, if Rand Paul somehow got elected that would be different. He’s an outlier…while the rest of his party is out lying (heh, heh).

Thus far Obama is a complete failure on this issue and I will continue to root for the Greenwalds of the world. And, on a related note, the CIA is out of control, to the point where even Dianne Feinstein is taking notice. Oh, and Brennan is a war criminal. There, I said it.

(That’s better, Zano)

3. Close Guantanamo!

I cannot believe Guantanamo is still open. I realize the GOP put up incredibly challenging barriers to closing this facility but this is a big deal. It is a stain on the U.S.’s record and it personifies the abuses under Bush. When under bush I torture too, but only if there’s an agreed upon safe word.

Guantanamo continues to hinder our ability to claim any moral high ground as numerous leaders from Vladimir Putin to Iran’s Ayatollah have pointed out. And losing the higher moral ground to these jokers….anyway, the 6,000 page CIA investigation of abuses and torture needs to be public. No one has been held accountable for these actions that historically have ended in some military-style hangings. Obama now shares some culpability in this dark period of American history.

4. The Affordable Care Act

As for Obama’s legacy achievement, it’s stunning to me how poorly the rollout of Obamacare was executed, especially when one considers this guy is the tech savvy prez. Or:

Rocky the Rollout Rodent

So goes Obamacare, so goes Obama. He was already starting off behind the 8-ball with this plan. He had to know the GOP would discourage their constituents from signing up. Oh, and Sebelius should be run out…wait, before you lose Brennan let him water board one more person.

5. Our Attorney General

Eric Holder is an idiot. For most key positions, Obama has picked an amazing team. He has a lot of rock stars, D and R. This may come as a surprise to republicans…as most facts do. But Eric Holder is a very notable exception. He never seems prepared, well-spoken or competent. He reminds me of a republican, or better yet Ruprecht from Dirty, Rotten Scoundrels.

ruprecht

Dear Mr. Obama,

When Fox News doesn’t have to make shit up and you’re guy still looks bad…there’s your first hint, Sparky. I have already written his dismissal tweet. It’s waiting your approval.

Sincerely,

Mick Zano

P.S. Stick Ruprecht’s giant fork in it, Holder’s toast.

6. Obama’s Lincoln Shit

Obama made a big mistake trying to reach across the aisle for his entire first term. I warned him nearly four years ago he’s barking up the wrong all-or-none thinking party. He would have been better served had he killed the filibuster while he was hanging the (blanking) curtains. The GOP is not reasonable at the moment serves no purpose.

7. Climate Change

If the Democratic held senate couldn’t pass any relevant policies in 2010, how are they any better than the right?

8. Dems in General

They suck. Hillary and the rest of our spineless Dems followed Bush into his foreign policy oblivion and now they are not defending the Affordable Care Act. The bad press the ACA is receiving has a fair amount of the fictional variety sprinkled in.

A number of Dems also broke from the president on Syria in a strange treasonesque, douchey type move not seen since the last time Ted Cruz opened his mouth. The recent drop in Obama’s approval is mostly from those red state Dems. Hold the line, anyone who says they know if the ACA will help or hurt a year from now is selling something. Speaking of which, only two more weeks to sign up, kids. Signup on an exchange and win a Discord t-shirt!

[Winslow’s Note: And by “win” he means “go out and buy your own damned shirt and print our logo on it.”]

9. Great Communicator?

What happened? Obama has a much better record than your average citizen comprehends. I suggested fireside-chat-style updates long ago. Only wonks seem to even understand his accomplishments. He needs to go toe to toe on his alleged failures and defend his successes. The false narrative has reached the shores of independent voters; it’s like a cancer that he allowed to go malignant. Obama figured “not true, not worried”. Wrong! Fox and friends eat falsehoods for breakfast. Koch Kook Flakes?

 

Closing thoughts:

You might think it odd I left out all recent foreign policy events, but the jury isn’t in yet. I am reasonably sure Obama will avoid WWIII and any invasion of the wrong country, which is waaaaaay more than I can say for The GOP, who, in response to the Ukraine, would have annexed Venezuela.

Mr. McDooris is right to point out current abuses of executive power and the NSA thing is a key battle at the moment. But I stand by my coverage of the Bush years and I believe my ongoing disgust with the GOP is equally valid. My summary article Through Rove Colored Glasses, part one and part two.

Meanwhile, I give full marks to Obama for avoiding the Bush Depression. The U.S. is enjoying the strongest recovery in the west, a recovery I thought was highly unlikely in 2008. It took extraordinary measures to save us. However, the Feds taper is going to be the true test as to whether or not Obama’s efforts only postponed our demise. Overall signs are more promising by the day:

“Five years in, we have enough data – so reading through the Economic Report from the Council of Economic Advisers is therefore a helpful exercise. And it seems to me to be a rather impressive record – and utterly alien from the picture of gloom and dysfunction the Republicans are currently concocting.”

—Andrew Sullivan

The jury isn’t in on Obama, but the jury is in on The GOP and…uh, what would you like for your last meal? Yeah, I know, I know….a bowl of Koch Kook Flakes.

Why Didn’t They Handout Aluminum Foil Hats at CPAC? an Oversight?

Mick Zano

It seems impossible to keep republicans from invading the wrong country when they’re in power, or derailing peace talks when they’re not. The resulting damage is becoming insurmountable. Republicans also continue to hinder our economic recovery in the name of freedom. I know that doesn’t make any sense. That’s my point.

Say what you want about the Dems, but as for The GOP I haven’t seen a bunch this misguided since that comet chasing cult in the 90s. Halle-GOPP?

Dean Obeidallah over at the Beast interviewed a psychiatrist about The GOP and found:

“Republicans have a masochistic relationship with the media (that can be described as) self-defeating personality disorder. They have learned that the way to connect to other people is through their suffering, through doing just the thing that will bring them ridicule or pain.”

—Dr. Foehl

Bieber Cyrus 2016

Dr. Foehl believes this group thrives on negative attention. Hey, maybe this is how the GOP can win the future.

Foehl is focusing on the tendency of The GOP to ever gravitate toward a series of self-inflicted wounds, like the War on Women, the War on Immigrants, the War on Voters. Roll up your sleeves, Congressman, I want to check for austerity cuts.

This is certainly part of their 2016 problems, but there’s an even more important theme emerging; there’s a growing consensus in the field of psychiatry that The GOP is increasingly reality impaired. Swaths of our citizens are disappearing into the paranoia realms, which may only be good news for the makers of Reynolds Wrap.

As far as specifics, the only thing I agree with Dr. F on is that they suffer primarily from an Axis-II personality disorder, which is the most difficult to correct or treat. Compounding the problem, Ikea is out of Wyoming-sized psychiatrist couches. Even if one arrives many republicans won’t be eligible for the help because their state blocked Medicaid expansion. More of Foehl’s masochism? I like my diagnosis better, here. Whereas I’m not a doctor I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night.

Zano Holiday Inn

I find republicans have an astounding confirmation bias, an inherent rigidity of thought, and an inability to accurately interpret new information. This phenomenon clearly exists on the left as well, but it’s far more subtle and less debilitating. Chris Mooney, citing some neuroscience, explains:

“Reasoning is actually suffused with emotion. Not only are the two inseparable, but our positive or negative feelings about people, things, and ideas arise much more rapidly than our conscious thoughts.”

Chris Mooney

You can’t reason with folks when reason is no longer on the menu. I would like to identify when I defend the indefensible, which is Pokey McDooris’ new job. Speaking of which, my Obama criticism homework assignment will go up next week. Yet whereas I still make the occasional retraction, the right—the poster children for neurological failings—remain almost completely incapable of this function. Although I admit that if Fox News started making retractions it would interfere with much of their regular programming.

Fox and Friends will not be seen today so that we may bring you our retractions from yesterday’s Fox and Friends.

Whereas the left has identified your Rumsfelds and your Cheney’s as sociopaths (see The Dish coverage), the problem is much more pervasive. The republican tent is lousy with them. Sociopaths are less likely to move through the liberal ranks as they tend to be more easily flagged. The reward system of might makes right and super capitalism is breeding a monster disparity of wealth and a sociopathic epidemic. I already covered our sociopathic CEO’s here.

Haggerty recently delved into three hours of Fox News a day for a month. Not recommended. This is a trained journalist. Don’t try this at home.

“Fox and its friends seem to have become so influential and all-encompassing that it is actually creating an entirely separate version of reality in the minds of its most loyal viewers, one that with increasing frequency doesn’t match reality.

—John Haggerty

Zano bait:

“The government shutdown demonstrated that the Tea Partiers are, for the most part, delusional rather than irrational: They can be forced to reconsider a particular tactic if you persuade them it’s politically catastrophic. It just requires an epic level of public anger to break through their epistemically-stunted consciousness”

—Noam Schieber

Schieber goes on to explain how Obama’s attempt to placate terrorists was a mistake. Yeah…I know, you heard this stuff years ago…on a certain spoof news site.

Should republicans take the senate in the midterms some wonks see a bright spot; they believe it would force republicans to actually govern. I don’t think we should ever reward bad behavior, nothing good will come from it. Luckily it’s not going to happen.

And, as for 2016, we cannot allow a group of people functioning on a level of consciousness on par with the kids who just got dropped off at the bus stop to run our military. Wait, I’m being told they aren’t on the bus today; they got detention…Oh…I’m being told they thought one crayon pack per student was socialism so they’re holding their teacher at gunpoint.

If Palin is still your 2016 darling (full story here) all the defunding of education in the world isn’t going save your party. The GOP will likely pick up some seats in the midterms but they’ll still be well below historical expectations and then moving forward this party is….

GOP Toast

Good thing they cheated to keep the House, eh? Even Boehner has reached his limit:

“For two days running, Boehner, has made clear that he’s heard just about enough from conservative advocacy groups such as the Heritage Foundation, Americans for Prosperity and Freedomworks. On Wednesday, he called them ‘ridiculous.’ On Thursday, he said ‘they’ve lost all credibility.’”

Frank James

Great, the civil war is in full swing and CPAC did not purge the looneys. If you purge all of looneys from the GOP this is what you’re left with:

Empty Room

And through it all Fox New still has their viewers eating out of the palm of their Hannitys. The only reason the GOP isn’t called to the carpet is because they reside in an ideological unfinished basement. Could you imagine what we could be focusing on, what we could be accomplishing without them? It’s a Shakespearean tragedy. Midterm Night’s Dream? Much ado About Taxing? No? Okay I’ll work on that one.

I have never in my lifetime wanted a super majority for either party, but anything, anything the Dems do would be better than having a republican in office. If their slogan is “a chicken filled with pot in every oven” –Hillary 2016. Wonderful! If Hillary even goes all Oprah on us and says, “Look under your seats America, you each own a car!!!” Bring it! I need a new one anyway.

“I think Republicans will not win again in my lifetime for the presidency unless they become a new GOP, a new Republican Party.”

—Rand Paul, GOP frontrunner

Of course, you know where you heard that first, but keep ignoring me. In fact, I insist.

CPAC Run!

CPAC Run!
Mick Zano

Welcome back, Pokey, to the important civil discourse happening here at The Daily Discord, you horrible little troll of a man. Let me guess, you only have access to cable news and AM radio—strike that, just AM radio. Nevertheless, I’m cheering the return of the Discord’s prodigal chum, but now to dismantle your arguments faster than a Daihatsu at a chop shop.

I agree the Dems need to be reigned in, but the current GOP will not accomplish this important task. It’s like putting the Ghetto Shaman in charge of a hallucinogen busting task force. Charlie’s Angel Dust? Did you catch CPAC by chance? I think a judge would be hard pressed not to order forced anti-psychotic injections for the lot. Many think this was their best effort to purge the looneys, I disagree.

If Rick Santorum makes the most sense at your little party, take off the sweater vests and put on the straitjackets. I kind of liked parts of Rand Paul’s bit, aside from the fossil fuel quest and the revisionist history, but otherwise ‘meh’. But the Pauls have never really fit in with the GOP mindset, because occasionally they stray into something I like to call reality. But how does the GOP shift from dad, hailed as a complete Kook, to frontrunner son without ever admitting any wrongdoing? Rand has the same schtick as his dad. It’s surreal.

Most republicans are attacking Obama for his “Carter-like” bumblings in the foreign policy spheres, yet what would Rand Paul do? He would do less than Obama. Let’s face it, there’s no unifying the ideology of fundamentalists, chicken hawks, and Tea Baggers. Irreconcilable hindrances? None of them make sense, but shove them all into the same tent and:

Santorum and Huckabee's Greatest Shitshow on Earth!
Santorum and Huckabee’s Greatest Shitshow on Earth!

And there is no news cycle in the last decade, Mr. McDooris, where a Dem-caused-problem really trumped a GOP caused dilemma. Whereas the crises you tend to cover remain theoretical, mine are quantifiable. And I’m done pushing for reform with this bunch; there comes a time when the EEG’s been flat for so long it’s time to pull the plug. Death panel anyone?

As I recall, you feared our 1st and 2nd Amendment rights under Obama, yet surprise surprise, years later you’re still shooting off your mouth and your guns. The advent of the politically correct police is hardly the greatest issue of our time. Besides, it’s these next round of issues—the ones you haven’t even identified yet—that will be our undoing. My list of future headaches here.

Why is talking to a republican always like time travel? Come with me if you want to Lib? I’ll be Beck? No? How about hasta la Christie, baby? Fine, I’ll stop.

Look, I blogged my dismay as the Justice Department became subsumed by the executive branch under Bush and already mourned the death of the Bill of Rights, here. In real time I rallied against the expansion of executive power with sharp zingy puns and satire, here. Remember? You should…I was arguing with you in that article. But as it turned out none of my eleven fans helped me storm the Bastille that day. Our freedoms died with a whimper, not a bang, amidst a very patriotic act.

Republicans are always walking up to some charred, smoldering black lump and saying, “Do you think we should, uh, open those barn doors now, Cleetus?”

If memory serves, you were also harping on people taking advantage of our system. That’s still a main GOP theme and, whereas it does happen, the problem ranks about 5,875. Strong work. The stuff I’m worried about is going to take another ten years for you to even identify: climate change, green energies, energy sustainability, sustainable communities, overpopulation, the disparity of wealth, twerking. But by then it will be too late. Will twerk for food?

Feel free to pursue happiness in the wasteland, Mad McMax, but we just don’t have the kind of time necessary to bring you and your ilk up to speed. We can’t enter the solution phase of any given problem because with one group science is always unsettled and uncertain. The only thing I’m certain about is how unsettled your party is.

And I don’t care if you have to pay 85 bucks a year for some emergency room fee. Eventually we’ll have a single payer system. But I hope keeping you on this planet a little longer doesn’t cramp your freedoms. It’s these half measures that always get muddied: individual mandates, medical marijuana, Managed Care. Give me a break. By the way, I was never for the individual mandate, here. How about you either pay the fee or sign a waiver that we don’t have to treat you at any emergency room? Wear a tag or something.

Hi I’m Pokey. If it’s going to be more than ten bucks, doc, just wheel me to the morgue.

It’s all part of Operation: Dying for Freedom! I don’t think the right could identify a freedom if it ran up their leg and bit them on their lapel flag. Frankly, your system and the people you vote for will still rush you along to the morgue, after they go through your pockets looking for loose change.

Have you seen the GOP’s counter proposal to Obamacare? Hint: Bachmann’s charts, submitted in crayon, make more sense. And I don’t care if you have a religious opinion that supersedes that of a decision between a doctor and a patient. This sums up that riveting argument:

“Religious groups have been exempt from the birth control benefit all along, and they still are. This is a case about paperwork, not religious liberty.”

—Cecile Richards, president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

In the time it’s taken you to post your last article, untold hundreds were incarcerated for smoking pot in this country, something I did, something you did, something our last three presidents did. A huge section of those “freeloaders” you mentioned have un-expungeable felonies on their record so are now virtually unemployable. But let’s not address that, because someone on the dole is making money off these folks in a private prison somewhere. Because the free market works!

The republican vision of freedom, is the freedom to live amidst the highest incarceration rates on the planet and the freedom to work in a unionless sweatshop, forever, without any chance of any vacation or any raises. They get away with this by selling this increasingly unlikely scenario:

“Hey, don’t fight for worker’s rights, because some day you’re going to run the sweatshop and you don’t want people cutting into your profits when you’re in charge, do you?”

—John Q. Republican

Stephen Moore was just on Bill Maher saying the same thing while defending Walmart’s unconscionable practices. “Do you know how many managers at Walmart came up through the ranks?” Give me a break. Wait, we’re not paying for breaks anymore so get back to work, oh glorious manager-to-be.

And if I hear one more republican say, “I’m not like that, I’m a moderate.” Bulllshit! You’re electing increasingly unhinged radicals. Did you watch CPAC? Where were these moderate voices, in your head?

“Republicans are so far right only two republicans are allowed at a time on the observation deck of the leaning Tower of Pisa.”

—Mick Zano

If you’re the bunch defending guns and the Constitution, you might as well shoot your copy of the Constitution Made Easy and then throw your gun off a cliff. Obama governs like Reagan, so the argument the left has gone off the deep end is a farce. In comparison liberal ideology hasn’t really shifted much to the left. Actually, it hasn’t shifted far enough.

No issues can be addressed adequately when one faction of our society gets their facts, their science, and their news from an alternate reality. The ideology of the right is no longer viable. They’re a distraction. You wonder why I don’t get around to those Obama rants, Poke? Take today for example, as I write this post The Drudge headline at the top reads:

Russian Ballistic Missile Threatens West!

But when you actually read said article, it says Putin submitted plans for this missile test to Obama, in triplicate, over a year ago and it has nothing to do with the current situation in the Ukraine. They are frightening the hell out of old people with a sociopathic pattern of lies and distortions not seen since we created the Discord’s mission statement.

Of course, since the GOP accurately predicted something (Putin’s bad behavior), they will now attempt to make matters seem worse. Whether the Ukraine situation fizzles or escalates I predict—through sheer force of will—the GOP will try everything in their power to rekindle the cold war, through patriotism.

Or:

“Either Obama will ignore this problem in the Ukraine and prove his weakness, or he will recklessly escalate the situation with senseless aggression, and I will let you know Monday depending on what he does.”

—Jon Stewart, making fun of Sean Hannity.

The GOP is creating reality through a confirmation bias not seen in this country in our lifetime. But as for my lack of Obama criticism, I will post an article on my complaints with our 44th president (Hint, they will barely resemble yours).

The members of each political party certainly reside along an ideological spectrum, but for the Democrats to reach GOP levels, they would have to nominate Rosie O’Donnell for president, after she announced she’d be appointing the entire cast of The View to her cabinet.

As you well know, I predicted if the GOP stayed on this course they would die and, right on cue, many are wondering if there’s a future for this group. All I can say now is, good riddance, and don’t let the McDooris hit you on the ass on the way out.

I Didn’t Leave the Discord, the Discord Left Me: Oh, and I Didn’t Have Email

As it turns out email is more than a passing fad. Anyway, so I step away from this project for a moment and everything turns to hell. Speaking of hell, I called up Pope Francis and he assured me that hell does indeed exist; it’s a real place, and it’s very painful—even more painful than reading The Daily Discord.

Pope Francis expressed concern over how often his position has been misrepresented and his words quoted out of context. He then bitched about Zano and Bone for the next twenty minutes.

“Who turns the Vatican into a barcrawl? What’s with these guys? I had a Cardinal dislocate a hip on a beer pong ball.”

—The Pope

In fact, I went over my cell phone minutes and Mr. Winslow should probably compensate me (I’m sending along a copy of the bill).

And, in anticipation of Tony Ballz’ next article, Pope Francis asked me to set the record straight. “The Roman Catholic Church does not now, nor has it ever supported the ordination of those gay polygamous transsexual shit goblins among us. You’re thinking of the Episcopalians.”

When I helped found the Daily Discord, back in 1861, I never would have dreamed it would morph into such an amusing site of totalitarian appeasement. I must wonder whether this site ever seriously criticizes the present ruling administration. Oh, I know, Mick doesn’t like ‘serious’ articles and I was told specifically for this feature, “Unless you work in a joke about shitgoblins, McDooris, I’m not posting this crap!” Here’s the problem, Zano, pointing out the reality of a totalitarian takeover in real time is not an easy comedy piece to pull off. Incidentally, it can also get you audited by the IRS.

I call on the Daily Discord to use its influence to defend the Bill of Rights, rights that are now under attack. I know that the Bill of Rights are rather passé for you progressives, but I think that they’re worth a second look. You see, the Bill of Rights were created to ensure that individuals like you and me are protected from the tyranny of the majority to impose its will against our individual life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. It’s a wonderful concept (which was also my favorite Jimmy Stewart movie).

For example, universal healthcare involves the federal government forcing all individuals to participate in a health insurance plan. But what happens when an individual, like me, chooses not to enroll in health insurance as part of their liberty and pursuit of happiness? Well, then the IRS fines me, or taxes me, or otherwise gets in my business as a penalty against my individual pursuit of happiness. Does anybody else see the problem here? You see, the Bill of Rights grants me God-given rights to pursue my life, liberty, and happiness free from all coercion from the government or the social status quo. It also protects me from the oppression of spoof news sites and editors who insist I pile goblins of shit into my important spoof news rhetoric.

You don’t have to agree with me; I have a right to be wrong. But totalitarian states don’t recognize God-given rights. So let’s say I, as the CEO of the Daily Discord, believe it to be immoral to pay for Alex Bone’s birth control? But universal healthcare forces people and churches and businesses to violate their moral dictates or face fines by the federal government? Do you all see how this is a clear violation of the Bill of Rights? Even though the vast majority of citizens feel it’s imperative that Mr. Bone be given bucket-sized piles of birth control, I have the God-given right to refuse to participate in the controlling of Bone’s reproductive capabilities.

Okay, bad example. In his case I think I’d probably make an exception. Can I call a mulligan? I’m forgetting the rules here.

Fine, Zano! Fine! So this gay guy, this transsexual, and this shitgoblin walk into a bar.

NO! I won’t do it…

Um…not on principle, I just can’t think of a good punch line. How about this, I’ll shake off the rust and you people start addressing the real issues.

Arizona’s SB1062: Fabulous Ousts Crabulous

Mick Zano

Flagstaff, AZ—Don’t fret about this veto thing. Look, the words Christian conscience should not be an oxymoron. Gays would be happy to go to your hell but the Pope just admitted it’s fictional. Of course, he may reconsider his position if he ever visits Mesa. As for eternal damnation for the gays, how about we just take a brimstone check?

No surprise SB1062 was vetoed by Governor Brewer. The bill that somehow passed the state’s congress would have allowed anyone to refuse service to any woman with short hair, or any male a little too good at accessorizing. Religions are supposed to stand for tolerance and love, but through a delicate blend of dogma and ignorance, the big three have clearly lost their way.

Look, if you really believe gays will burn in hell for all eternity, couldn’t you muster enough compassion to bake them a cake? A little sendoff type thing? Enjoy this cake before my God forever incinerates you perverts in a fiery chasm, kind of thing. If you really thought these folks would burn forever in torment, couldn’t you muster a shred of sympathy? Of course you can’t, you’re Christians.

Dear Religious Peeps,

Being religious should not be conflated with small-minded ignorance. It is today. Sorry, but don’t shoot the messenger. No, really, it’s a commandment or something.

Sincerely,

Mick Zano

Only you can change this perception and I strongly encourage you to start listening to your grand poobah. He’s a smart man. I attended the LQBTQ rally in Flagstaff on 2/23 and, of course, posed as a member of the Christian Science Monitor. Our representative Ann Kirkpatrick had a great interview over on MSNBC on the 26th. My old interview with her here.

SB1062 Protesters
SB1062 Protesters

I talked to multiple people and they all said variations of the same thing for each of my questions.

Please stop hanging out at such and such establishment, Zano!

Actually responses were so similar I bolded the collective responses from Jamie, Nino, Nicole, Frankie, and everyone else.

Brewer will veto the bill, not because it’s the right thing to do, but because she knows it will hurt the economy.

Or:

Brewer's lament

I wonder if she really feels that way. She is a republican, which is a bit debilitating these days, so who knows? Reasonableness and logic have no place in her tent anymore. She did expand Medicaid in this state, but usually republican types need to be forced to do the right thing. See: The Affordable Care Act, or the Civil War or Abu Ghraib.

I also asked everyone about the Pope. Most of the folks said they were happy with his holiness but no one could quite believe how low the American version of this bunch continues to sink. The Pope, meanwhile, is fast becoming a gaysation. So I asked everyone:

If it’s not going to pass anyway, why are you all out here being fabulous? The general response was:

How are we even having this &^%ing debate in 2014? It’s absurd.

The Christian Science Monitor only feather-ruffed one group but, hey, if I’m going to get beaten up by a group of gays it’s going to be on my terms—at that certain club dressed like Wonder Woman, damn it!

According to Kirsten Powers over at The Beast there’s inherent assumption that providing some service or another is somehow an endorsement or affirmation of a given lifestyle. This assumption smells of something we in the spoof news realms like to call bullshit.

“This case simply has not been made, nor can it be, because it defies logic.  If you lined up 100 married couples and asked them if their florist ‘affirmed’ their wedding, they would be baffled by the question.”

—Kirsten Powers, The Daily Beast

Powers then makes the case that you can’t pick and choose like that. I agree. I guess you shouldn’t provide any service for an unbiblical bunch of any kind. No one previously divorced, both individuals need to have rings on their fingers and, of course, no one should have engaged in premarital sex.

Or just hang this in your flower shop window.

No ring no hymen no service

Maybe everyone should fill out a ten page questionnaire before they receive your services? Or maybe you should all just grow the hell up…oh wait, there is no hell. But is there a heck? Hmmm. I may end up there, but what the heck.

What does the right fear more than anything? Not Hillary, they fear Sharia Law. But isn’t this shit bringing us one step closer to the bigotry of Sharia Law? At this point, isn’t everyone in the conservative tent a walking contradiction?

Closing thoughts:

Rights in general remain an embarrassment in my state, for gays for workers for anyone, but it never ceases to amaze me how one political party never thinks the crapola each citizen is forced to swallow is quite good enough. Operation: Discrimination for Freedom!

Somewhere Jesus is rolling over in his….wait, I’m being told he absconded from there…Jewdini?

Not a Discord original but glorious nevertheless
Not a Discord original but glorious nevertheless

Top 10 Guinness Pours in Tucson Revealed!

Mick Zano

Tucson is an interesting town. I immediately got a sense of the local color here, which is beige. All color in Arizona, local or otherwise, is some derivative of beige. Upon pulling into town I was greeted by a man yelling out of his car window, “Pick a lane, asshole!” and I thought, “Wow, I’m home.”

In comparison, Phoenix is akin to some giant retirement community. I think over the years all the freaks were driven south and I mean that lovingly (the under-cactus railroad?). After only a short time wandering the streets I decided it was time for a follow up to my Best Guinness in Vegas Revealed feature, as a bartender from The Hut explained, “Tucson takes its beer seriously.”

But first an important cultural observation:

Nearly every couple in Tucson had a homeless/mentally ill panhandler following them. It’s as if everyone had already paired off, into threes, or as Arizona calls it: the Jan Brewer Model. I eventually found a nice free couple and started babbling to them about ancient aliens, the Rothschild family and alternate street parking. They seemed appreciative and I made a fast buck.

Ground Rules:

I don’t rate on the six Guinness pouring principles. I rate on taste and taste alone, and I am not going to mention those establishments that didn’t make the cut, because that would be completely Maloneyious of me. So without further a-brew, onto our Guinness winners (in reverse order).

Number 10: O’Malley’s

Drinkable, but let’s move on, shall we? Had I had more time in this town, this one would have likely been dropped faster than some psychedelics with Hunter S. Thompson at the Fremont Experience.

Number 9: The Shanty

Fourth Street Tucson has a variety of cool enough sounding bars, but unless you like country and western, or Coors and Budweiser, keep moving. The closest bar on Fourth Street to my hotel, however, The Shanty, poured a decent pint of Guinness. The place allegedly has a pool table and a nice patio, but I was only able to find one of these. (Hint: don’t try shoot pool on their patio. They hate that.)

The Shanty, giant moai

Number 8: The Hut

This place spared no expense having a giant mo’ai transported all the way from Easter Island. That’s dedication. It’s a great tribute to Guinness, as I believe the mo’ai acquired the original Guinness recipe from the leprechaun’s after storming St. James’s Gate during the Alamo. Did I mention I failed history?

Anyway, The Hut is a great beach-bar-themed joint and they pour a pretty darn good Guinness.

Number 7: The Hotel Congress

Whereas I love this hotel, I didn’t have any hope for a winner here. The bartender poured my pint in about 11-seconds (and not into an imperial pint).

“Because our Guinness pours go to 11!”

—Nigel

Being quick on the draw is important in the old west, but not so much when we’re talking about a proper Guinness pour. Despite this fact, it was a surprisingly good. It reminded of the Orlean’s in Vegas. Full story here. Beginner’s luck? A fresh keg, perhaps? Not sure but it was only one staircase away from my room and any hotel with four bars in the lobby gets a Zano four star rating. Coincidence? No.

Number 6: Mulligans

This joint is not downtown, but it wasn’t too far from my conference so I decided to venture Guinnessward. Sure beats going to a conference. As the barkeep poured my drink, I thought, wow, she’s letting this Guinness settle nicely and then I realized, wow, she just forgot to top me off and abandoned my drink entirely!

So I eventually walked back over to claim my beverage and then her cohort, in charge of table deliveries, proceeded to spill half the foam onto my seat. It was like the passing of the baton—near the end of an Irish barcrawl. This method may work well in porn, but not so much during a Guinness judging contest. I kid the help. The Guinness was tasty…well, the part I didn’t sit in.

On a side note:

If this is my boss reading this, I went to the conference.

If this is my probation officer reading this, I wasn’t drinking.

Number 5: The Red Garter

The Red Garter is the kind of place I spent most of my undergraduate work frequenting. The Guinness was poured into a pint glass, not an imperial pint, but it was still a force to be reckoned with. I later heard the Red Garter is always steep competition each year at the perfect pint competition.

But Are They Sithing the Point?
Imperial Guiness Darth Vader
WTF? Even Lucas’s Imperial pints aren’t imperial!

Number 4: The World Beer Market

I ran into Kiva somewhere and she suggested I hit her alma mater, the World Beer Market. The World Beer Market was an arduous journey from my hotel room, aka, across the street. The pour there was very creamy and it tasted like a winner, but there was a bitterness that began soon after the initial sips, a bitterness that kept this puppy from the medal round. I’ve had this happen before, but I’m not bitter about it. It was still a damn good pint.

giant palm

Number 3: The Frog & Firkin

This is the view from my Guinness, well, were I to fall from my chair and pass out on my back—which, incidentally, I did while snapping this picture. Nothing says Guinness like palm trees, well, if you’re an idiot. The Frog & Firkin has a great draft selection and it’s a wonderful place to enjoy a great pint. Kudos! This establishment earned its medal round status. These last three are all winners. Mmmmm Guinness!

Number 2: The Auld Dubliner

The sister bar of this Tucson pub scored 4th in my Vegas Top 10 feature, here, so I kind of figured it would be a contender. I do like the layout of the Lake Las Vegas Auld Dubliner better. This place has the football cranking and was set up more for the college students over at nearby U of A.

Key point: People should really consider my needs when opening businesses. It’s amazing how often this doesn’t seem to be the case. This can likely be attributed to their keen desire to stay open.

To Clint’s credit, though, he beat out his Las Vegas brethren. I have been to the Auld Dubliner in Vegas several times but I think his pint is a step better. On a related brewery note, Clint talked me into trying an Iron Maiden ale, a limited edition type thing:

Maiden Beer

It’s a good beer, but as far as novelty UK beers go, Monty Python’s Holy Ale wins that contest.

“All right, we’ll call it a draw.”

—The Black Knight

Oh, and this very beer helped me catch a ghost in my haunted Hotel Congress feature, here. Onward to our winner. Come, Patsy!

Bumsteds!! Bumsteds!! Bumsteds!!!

Number 1: Bumsteds!! Bumsteds!! Bumsteds!!!

Doesn’t that beer look good? I want to head over there and get another one, right now! The beer depicted in this picture wasn’t the winner. I went back to tell Andrew the good news and he bought me a pint, which gives me a diabolical idea…hmmm. No, I wouldn’t do that…well…maybe. This pour was truly one step above the competition. Bumsteds is hidden deep amidst Tucson’s Fourth Street rabble, but I had gotten a tip they poured a mean Guinness and it turned out to be the hot tip of the trip.

Congrats Andrew! In the immortal words of Douglas MacArthur, “In war there is no substitute for victory!”

No wait, the other one, “I shall return!” In fact, maybe next weekend.

Deport Every Politician Thwarting Obama on Iran

Mick Zano

You think that’s bad? Initially I was going with drone strikes. The list of our-dangerously-incomptent-politicians-who-we-must-run-out-of-office has changed. Instead of identifying them via their support for Sarah Palin, we need to switch to all those elected officials derailing our current peace talks with Iran, D or R. Please turn in your flag lapel pins and all those donations acquired illegally before your car is towed.

I am not sure these talks with Iran will net anything either, but to jump directly to an estimated 9-trillion dollar unwinnable war without even trying diplomacy first is insane—even by republican standards.

“We tried nothing and we’re out of options…Bomb!”

—John Q. Republican

In light of recent Middle Eastern military campaigns, to skip diplomacy is another stunning republican position (SRP). That’s all they seem to bleeping have these days. Why is reality such a tough concept for this bunch? Hey, let’s repeal Obamacare again.

“To say The GOP is a one trick pony, implies the one trick actually works.”

—Mick Zano

Here’s a Venn diagram that should explain everything:

Democrat, Reality Republican Venn diagram

Even if republicans think they have a valid point regarding our economy, which is a stretch, I don’t get how they can chime in on foreign affairs with a straight face. To make matters worse, 26 Dems in congress initially broke from the president and called for increased sanctions on Iran. This week, not to be outdone, forty republican senators are pushing for increased sanctions as well—and they want them to start during the State Department’s preliminary deal. What?! You can’t be even less insightful than the last time I posted, you can’t!

The GOP has based their entire foreign policy strategy off a variation of the hairdresser’s code of Rinse, Lather, Repeat:

Bomb, Sanction, Repeat

Juan Cole has a must read post over at his Informed Comment: The 10 Reasons Americans will Regret if Republicans Derails Iran Negotiations.

“It is absolutely outrageous and very rare that Congress would interfere in diplomatic negotiations of the president. They let Bush go around invading countries but won’t let Obama try to forestall a war.”

—Juan Cole

I also agree with Juan in that a war may well trigger another economic collapse, a game ending one. The word “treason” comes to mind. It comes to mind a lot lately. Patriots for Treason? Don’t Drudge on Me? Fine, I’ll work on that one.

How can the people who brought us Bush be allowed to do this? Wasn’t there an election or something? If you don’t understand what Obama’s doing, that’s okay, you don’t understand anything anyway! So relax.

And I didn’t order the fractured Democratic Party or the side order of crazy bread. I know some of you red state Dems are trying to fit a square state into a round Fox hole, but you were elected to do the right [as in “correct”] thing, which in this case means let the maestro work. So if you have a D in front of your name, please purge the propaganda (PPP). I expect the wrong answer from the right, but not from you (hint: it helps me get stuff right).

Just a few weeks ago, optimism was on the rise—at least as far as Obama’s foreign policy legacy was concerned—but now all bets are off as Syria is emboldened, in part because we can’t get our collective shit together. Now talks with both Iran and Syria are straining like Palin on a colonial history pop quiz.

Meanwhile:

“I think that we should proceed with sanctions so that the Iranians know that this is not an American deal with them … this is a Kerry/Obama deal with them and that the rest of Congress is not behind them.”

–GOP congressman (R-CA), Duncan Hunter.

Hunter Deported to Sweden, Claims He’s Not From There. What movie?

This man is not a fringe character, he was in the republican primaries a few years back. I remember listening to his version of foreign policy issues back then, thinking, wow, how does someone manage to seem even less insightful than other republicans? Oh, wait, that was his dad. I guess the ACORN doesn’t fall from the Tea.

Many on the right now believe the wars and the state of the Middle East is predominately Obama’s fault. I can’t make this up; they really think that. I like Kaplan’s response in Obama Isn’t Disengaged from the World:

“If only he’d kept a few thousand troops in Iraq and made an open-ended commitment to Afghanistan, they claim, the insurgents would be cowed, the central governments would be stable, and the people would be prosperous and secure. To believe these claims requires a twisted view of the two wars and a deep misunderstanding of power in the modern world.”

—Fred Kaplan

What it really is, is the republican’s ongoing disengagement from reality. This is what I blog about, because unlike what they blog about, it tends to be relevant. You folks need to remember the context; I watched a president do everything wrong for eight years, and I knew it at the time. Now I’m watching a president, who I voted for, struggle to do what’s right and the same people want us to jump the shark again. Give it rest, people. Tell you what, if you win the presidency in 2016, you can end the world then. Deal?

More people are identifying the deep delusional state of our GOP, but will having a handful more journalists figure this shit out really matter in the long run? I encourage any voter considering a Republican for office to first consider just how radical they have become. Believe me, they’re not your grandfather’s Republican Party…well, they are a lot like his last few years when he kept putting his keys in the toaster.

Plight of the Phoenix: How I Stopped Worrying About On-Coming Traffic and Learned to Love the Valley

The Crank

Here are some of the dos and don’ts when driving around the Phoenix area:

1. First, learn to pronounce the city name properly; it’s FEE-NICKS. There are other names to learn such as Awatukee (Ah-wa-Too-Kee) but that will be included in the advanced (Core-ss).

2. The morning rush hour is from 5:00 am to noon. The evening rush hour is from noon to 7:00 pm. Friday’s rush hour starts on Thursday morning.

3. The minimum acceptable speed on most freeways is 85 mph. On Loop 101, your speed is expected to at least match the highway number. Anything less is considered ‘Wussy’.

4. Cars/trucks with the loudest muffler go first at a four-way stop; the trucks with the biggest tires go second. However, in the East Valley, SUV-driving, cell phone-talking moms ALWAYS have the right of way.

5. If you actually stop at a yellow light, you will be rear-ended, cussed out, and possibly shot (first offense). Thankfully, recidivism is low.

6. Never honk at anyone. Ever. Seriously. EVER.

7. Road construction is permanent and continuous in Phoenix. Detour barrels are moved around in the dead of night purely for entertainment purposes.

8. Watch carefully for road hazards such as drunks, skunks, dogs, barrels, cones, cows, horses, cats, mattresses, shredded tires, squirrels, rabbits, crows, vultures, javelinas, roadrunners, and the coyotes feeding on people who mistakenly honked.

9. If someone actually has his/her turn signal on, wave him or her to the shoulder immediately to let them know it has been ‘accidentally activated.’

10. If you are in the left lane and only driving 70 in a 55-65 mph zone, you are considered a road hazard and will be ‘flipped off’ accordingly. If you return the flip, refer to rule #6 on honking.